Bell's Best Brown | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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86
very good
885 Reviews
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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States
bellsbeer.com

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A smooth, toasty brown ale with hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
885
Ratings:
3,000
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.2%
 
 
Wants:
104
Gots:
473
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 885 | Ratings: 3,000
Photo of JDV
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of ketchepillar. Thanks.
Pours a reddish brown color with a small beig head. Smell is very nutty, toasty and has a great fresh maltiness about it. Taste is nutty, drying and malty with a light hopp bitterness and an almost nutty chocolately taste. Good body to it, and a really nice brown ale!

 310 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark roasted caramel color with a cherry tan head.

S: nice roasted malt and nuttiness

T: For flavor there is a rich nuttiness and some alcohol warming along with some dark and warming hazelnut. The palate is very warming, yet soft roasted and nutty with a creamy texture and mouthful. There is a touch of molasses but is the lingering dark caramel lacing on the finish that best highlights this beer. There is a slight woodiness, and vanilla bean notes as well . Overall a very nice and nutty brown. The grain bill seemed more American then an English brown along with the hopping but was still a very good beer all around.

M: medium-full bodied, soft, creamy and lustrious.

D: a great drinking english brown by style.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle, no dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a relatively clear medium brown with reddish overtones. The head formed a creamy 1-2 fingers thick, and retained nicely.

Aroma: Toasted and caramel malts, some nuttiness as well.

Taste: Pretty much the same as the smell. Toasted and sweet caramel malts up front. The nutty flavors come through in the middle, and the bitterness balances with the sweet malts. The finish is mainly sweet caramel, lingering for a few seconds.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. The carbonation tingles and balances out well.

Overall: the bottle advertises this as a beer for late fall or winter, but I'm still enjoying it even as I'm in the middle of a summer heat wave. Highly recommended to those who like brown ales, and everyone else as well.

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Photo of HurricaneMo
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Fairly brown with quickly disappearing head and little lacing
S - Not a strong aroma, mostly malty on the nose
T - Malty with a caramel tinge and a hint of nuts. Just the right amount of bitterness to balance the malt
M - Somewhat light mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation
D - Phew, I really enjoyed this and wish I had bought a six-pack. Very refreshing.

I would definitely recommend this beer.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very pretty opaque leather brown with bronze highlights. A firm head with quick dissipation and light lacing.

Scent is of light roasted nuts, caramels and toffee. A warm and inviting nose that has toasted malts in the background. The smell is so pleasing I would buy a candle of it and light it in my house.

Taste is similar to the nose, warm toasted malts with a nutty, metallic toffee touch. A slight buttery flavor and mouthfeel comes through in the aftertaste. No hop profile to speak of, which in this case is ok with me. This beer is about the malts, sweet to the tongue and pleasant on the palate, nice thin but even carbonation adds to the pleasure of this brew.

I've never been a fan of English styles but this one is excellent. A flavorful experience with a nice medium body that keeps every sip interesting. I would definitely buy this again and have it on hand, especially in the winter time. The nutty, toffee, caramel flavors and scents bring a holiday warmth with it.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy/brown color with a creamy, foamy, small tan head. It left small traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt and sweet caramel notes.

T - It had a biscuity roasted malt taste. Also, caramel and toffe flavors were present.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good brown ale. A nice sweet malty taste.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an above average looking murky brownish colour with hints of amber here and there. Head is surprisingly minimal in size with a beige colour to it and sporadic amounts of residue left on the glass after each sip.

The aroma is malty for sure: toasted malt comes into play first and blends with a slight hint of caramel along with a bit of earthiness to it and perhaps a slight bit of nuttiness as well.

The flavour continues the aroma, with toasted malt once again leading the way. Sweetness subsides a bit and gives way to more of the earth and nut notes. If there is any sweetness, it's at the finish where it blends with some bitterness for a bit of a letdown at the end of each sip especially since the other flavour mesh so well. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with some creaminess to it, although it can be a touch thin at times and also has the aforementioned weird harshness to it.

Not a bad beer at all. I'd call it a slightly above average brown ale that gets the job done but is one that would barely stand out in a crowd. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Durge
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brown ale has a light mahogany color with a huge light tan head and major lacing. There is only a very mild malt aroma, disappointing. It does follow with a nice charcoal toffee taste though. I detect midland cabonation and find it to be very drinkable. There's a hint of orange and chocolate nuttiness. Bitter grassy hops in the back. The hops tend to dominate toward the end, maybe too much. Sweet malt, a nice blend.

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Photo of botham
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a new sam adams glass. pours a caramel brown color with amber highlights and two fingers of tan head that dissipates within a minute or two after a hard pour. moderate lacings.

aroma is malty, with a distinct caramel character, with an earthy base and a lightly roasted character. a nutty character is light in the background, with a hint of alcohol. nicely proportioned.

taste is of caramel malts with a hint of roasted malts and a nutty base. no alcohol present, with a a mild earthy quality in the background.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy texture. finishes clean with a bit of residual roasted malt.

drinkability is good. this is a solid brown ale, easy going and smooth on the palate. a great offering from Bell's. cheers!

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Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Gorgeous deep plum coloration with a nice medium sized head of froth. Retention and lacing were both appealing.

S - Sweet caramel malts and cherries make the nose on this one, and I must admit, I was surprised at how potent the aroma was. Makes the mouth water.

T - Hearty toasted malt body with hints of roasted nuts. A slight bitterness comes through and gives this brew an impressive balance. Oddly refreshing for how malty it is.

M - Light to medium body, mild carbonation, dry finish.

D - What an excellent brew! I could seriously have one of these everyday, but I wish the abv was a bit lower, for this could be an awesome session brew. Definite reco here.

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Photo of slyke
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Best Brown Ale pours a pleasing brown color with a little lighter tone around the edges. The head is slightly off-white, maintains a cap throughout the beer and laces nicely.

Smell is roasty and malty with a soft citrus note. Taste pleasantly continues the roasted malty quality. A bit of hoppy citrus in the center of the taste and a nice gentle bitterness in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with an expected bit of "weight" on the tongue. This beer is very drinkable. Try it when you find it.

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Photo of montageman
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Bell's never ceases to amaze me. This is the first chance I've had to try this particular beer and, as is the case most of the time, Bell's does it right and very well. Pours a deep, dark brown. Smells sweet and malty and tastes the same with a touch of chocolate for good measure. This is one of those beers I could drink all night without a problem. Good stuff. Recommended.

 403 characters

Photo of Greggy
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice redish color with great yeast sediment and 2-finger head.

S- malty toasted grains, spice, touch of cinnamon.

T- Thicker creamy viscosity, nice pumpkin-esque malt backbone. The hops are mainly on the finish which is just a bit dry. Also, after some deep reanalysis, I detect a bit of banana.

M- Low carb works well with style

D- Good brown ale. Nothing overly complex. Seems like it would be a good ease into winter.

 427 characters

Photo of boogles
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep red with perfect carbonation, more sediment than I anticipated. The smell was interesting--some vanilla and flowery perfume in addition to the expected maltiness, etc. The taste is delicious at a moderate chill--I don't think I'd like this one overchilled--and I could drink this all night. Just had one tonight, though. Very nice.

 345 characters

Photo of jackorain
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown, 3/4 inch tan head that hung around for a while and left very good lacing.

Smells of caramel malt, yeasty goodness, mollases and a little nutty.

Taste begins with caramel malt which is followed by some toffe and hazelnut notes.

Medium body with a fizzy carbonation.

Oeverall a nice drinkable Brown

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark brown with a light reddish glow. Not much head, but what is there is ivory.

Smells of toasted malts, a little coffee-like. Very inviting.

Has a bit of an initial bite to it, fills the mouth with the taste of the toasted malts that were present in the scent.

Carbonation level might be a little high, but not enough to detract from the impact the beer makes on the palate. Goes down relatively smoothly, leaves a slightly dry aftertaste.

I could drink a few of these in a sitting. I don't know that I would actively seek this brew out, but this is certainly not a bad beer.

 598 characters

Photo of NDZonie
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass with a 2 finger head. Dark brown in color with a very fragrant smell. You can really taste the high malt content. The mouthfeel is what is a disappointment to me. It doesn't really have a lot of depth for flavor. The after taste remains on your tongue for a while and can be quite bitter.

 308 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. Theis beer is a somewhat cloudy, somewhat clear amber brown color with some deep red highlights when held tot he light. The fluffy head is a good inch thick when poured. Settles to a nice thick surface coating and eventually to a nice thick white ring lining the inside of my glass. Has a nice sweet malty and slightly toasted aroma with hints of maple and brown and perhaps a bit of spice and nuttiness as well. Sweet, roasty and primarily malty taste with the aforementioned brown sugar and maple/caramel characteristics followed by a definite hop bitterness. good balance of flavor here. Has a full bodied, crisp and frothy mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. A unique offering for this style of beer and quite good too. The winning!

Eric

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark brown with a reddish tint to it. There was a one finger off white head that dissipated to a thin ring with some slight lacing. The smell is mostly malt with a little caramel and sweetness. The taste is strong for a brown. There is mostly malt with a bitter kick in the end which is carried through by the carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy but not too thick which coupled with the smooth flavor and great carbonation make this one a great warm session ale.

 478 characters

Photo of jdubjacket
2.43/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got as an extra in a trade with limesmut.

I must say that of all the Bell's brews I've had, this is by far the biggest disappointment.

Pours a light brown with pretty much no head and minimal lacing. Smell was almost non-existent. Couldn't pick anything out of the nose. Taste was very disappointing. Very watered down with no real flavor. Nothing really jumped out at me here unfortunately. Very watered down mouthfeel. Drinkability is average since this beer is pretty unspectacular.

Very disappointed with this beer, especially since it's from Bell's.

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Photo of Neehan
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very malty beer that has an interesting character that is more like a marzen or a winter warmer than a brown ale. Dry finish and light mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to give a slight bite at the end. Not great, but not bad. A bit disappointing coming from Bell's, but who can complain with their other fantastic releases?

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Photo of Slynger
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer really looks like somethin' else. It's sort of a deep, cloudy, tarnished copper with amber and butterscotch highlights. A fairly creamy dirty white cap leaves some slippery lacing.

The nose is nice and cooly sweet dark fruits and caramel. Lightly toasted aromas mix with a nuttiness and spicy woodsy hops.

Medium bodied and chewy with large bubbled creaminess. Sweet caramel malts are noticed at first, with a light bitterness that lingers throughout the journey. Fruity apple and plum overtones blend well with the light spiciness of earthy woodsy hops.

I like most of Bell's offerings a lot but this one really caught me off guard. It is a great brown and should be recognized among the top few of the style. It is quite unique, incredibly drinkable, and thankfully I picked up more than one bottle as I definitely did not grasp all that there was to experience in this brew. Bell's Best Brown will in fact hold that title in my book until I come across a real rival.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pretty much a typical brown, except when held up to the light, which gives it a reddish glow. Slightly hazy and little bit of yeast is suspended in the beer. A one finger tan head slowly settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is smooth and creamy with a touch of raisin and brown sugar. A touch of the alcohol makes it in.

Burnt caramel sets off the bready malts. A little bit of sharp hop flavor comes in at the end. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a mix of the lingering hops and grainy malts.

This one seemed to have some of its body missing, and some of the complexity. I tend to enjoy brown ales that have a little more of a roasty characteristic. This one seemed a little watery.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very nice and pretty clear hazelnut brown with just the slightest bit of a reddish tint to it around the edges. A very nice amount of carbonation was evident in the streams of bubbles that were chaining up from the bottom throughout the session. A very nice three finger high head of off white colored lace formed on the top on the initial pour and then faded back down to just a thin layer across the top after a few moments. The nice thin layer stayed with it throughout the session and gave off very nice residual side glass lace. Overall very nice and a good classic brown ale look to it.

S - The aroma was very easy to pick up, which was nice as sometimes it is rather light and it can take a minute to pick it out. The first thing I noticed was the nice malt bill attached to this one. A nice mix of cereal grains and bready malts that gave it a very nice base to work off of. As it warmed up I detected some nice light grass like hop notes in there as well some hints of fruit, banana to be more specific that were coming through and giving it a little more balance. The aroma overall was pretty classic, maybe with a little tweak of hoppiness to it, but a good representation of the style in general.

T - The flavor was classic, just a good all around brown ale. Started out with lots of malts, this was completely to be expected. Cereal grains, bready and earthy tones dominating, but then fading under increasing pressure from caramel like sugary notes that seemed to really bring out the best in this one. Deep flavor profile which surprised me to be honest. A nice long dry finish capped it off very nicely and provided that long dry bitter taste that just really is a sign of Bell's in particular.

M - A very nice light to medium bodied ale, this was pretty darn good I have to admit. There was a very nice carbonation profile, bubbles keeping it lively throughout the session and never really letting it get too dull or watery. Very strong finish and a really nice feel overall with a delicate smoothness balanced against a tight crisp profile.

D - Very nice here as I could easily make this an everyday session beer. Light enough in flavor and profile to be easily drinkable, but at the same time the flavors were very well pronounced and made it much better then just another brown ale. Low ABV and great carbonation wee just the icing on the cake.

Overall this was definitely a quality brown ale. I would not say it was the best I have ever had, but it was certainly above normal for sure. I would love to try this on tap, as I really feel it would bring out the best in its character when poured fresh. Definitely a high quality regular rotation offering from Bells here and something I would really like to try again.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottling code printed clearly.

a: Dark and cloudy mahogany body. The head won't go away and leaves patches of lace.

s: Toffee, molasses, and some light nuttiness.

t: Similar to the aroma. Caramel/toffee, brown sugar/molasses, a nice nutty character and some sweet fruitiness too. A light flavor, but it is complex and enjoyable. Not much in the way of hops, but that's typical for the style.

m: Lighter body, medium carbonation.

d: A very tasty brown ale. Great example of what a brown ale should be. Nothing extravagant, just some solid nutty toasted flavors and one easy drinking beer.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 3,000 ratings.
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